The New PR Reporting Landscape: How To Show Value and Drive Decisions

By Rajagopal Sathyamurthi (CTO & Co-Founder) and Leta Soza (Director of PR Engineering & Ops) at AirPR

Public Relations constantly grapples with the ability to report meaningful results in a manner that resonates with executives and members of the C-Suite.

Until the emergence of “PRTech” began to enable dot-connecting between PR activities and business goals, the PR industry generally used output driven metrics (impressions, number of press hits, AVEs, etc.) to communicate its value; but these barometers rarely tie back to business goals and don’t do much to inform future decision-making.

All of this is changing as PR shifts its focus from reporting on outputs to data-driven outcomes. Metrics such as visitors to site, engagement, and message “pull-through” are quickly gaining ground as the new gold standards for PR measurement. A widespread adoption of these metrics, however, is predicated on a reporting mechanism that can neatly and efficiently package this data.

To help solve this widespread challenge, AirPR recently launched a Reporting Suite that uses aggregated PR activity output data from our Analyst product to generate automated, actionable reports based on the customized success metrics of any company.

One of the key components to leveraging the power of the Reporting Suite is our solution’s unique integration with Google Analytics. This integration allows us to analyze and visualize specific subsets of Google Analytics data.

The Google Analytics Core Reporting API exposes a few key metrics which have great utility for PR professionals: users and goal/event conversions. Pre-processing and ingesting this metric data into our Reporting Suite allows PR pros to see trends over time as it relates to traffic and engagement driven by PR content.

When PR can quickly survey this data, the question isn’t, “do spikes in coverage volume correspond to spikes in traffic?” Rather it is, “which narratives, outlets or topics drive the most traffic, engagement, or amplification?” Also, “how can successes be replicated?” 

These key metrics combined with AirPR’s data, classification features, and proprietary algorithms also provide a simple way to slice, dice, and visualize complex data in seconds.

Dimensions such as full referrer (content sources) and date (subset of time) are crucial to PR pros understanding which media outlets and specific pieces of content are more impactful for their business over different time ranges. 

AirPR Analyst enhances the direct attribution data from Google Analytics with additional sources of PR data to track and display the performance of content that contain links back to company websites, as well as the impact of articles that do not contain links or those with links that do not get clicked. 

Last but not least, our Reporting Suite aims to impact how PR success is defined. Not only will PR have a clearer picture of what delivers for their brand or client, they can quickly and succinctly speak to business leaders in key data points, which highlight success stories.

No matter what technology or methods you are using, here are a few simple tips for communicating success like a PR boss, and ensuring that the executive (to which you report) can clearly see the value of your hard work and effort:

Top-line and bottom-line it.
 • The best of the month in terms of X metric was Y content and what this means is Z.

Use numbers to tell the story. 
 • We saw an X% change in Y month over month, and what that does for us is Z.

Speak to business wins.
 • This is what X activity did for business goal Y.

Share what’s next. 
• With X data, we are going to focus on Y.

The remaining hurdle for PR pros is to begin thinking differently about what metrics matter in terms of future decision making. While impressions and press hits are certainly important in terms of “activity-based metrics”, they don’t necessarily tell the whole story. Our information-rich environment implores us to continually evaluate which pieces of media or content properly convey key messages, reach our desired audiences, generate top-of-funnel business leads, and ladder up to business goals.

Posted by Google Analytics technology partner AirPR